Damar Hamlin – NFL Safety Regulations

Karina N. Mayer, Writer

On January 2nd, NFL Buffalo Bill’s rookie safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after tackling Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. The 24-year-old collapsed shortly after managing to stand up after the play. The game was canceled indefinitely even though the outcome had playoff implications for the AFC conference.

Hamlin, at the young age of 24, is the founder of “The Chasing M’s Foundation Charitable Fund” which focuses on collecting donations for toys for kids in the Pittsburgh area he is from. Since the incident on the 2nd, the funds donated have superseded the original goal of $2,500 reaching nearly 9 million dollars in less than a month. Support from fans, players, and teams has been enormous all across the country.

#LoveForDamar posters and shirts can be spotted in the crowd at every NFL game and on the backs of star players. With all the support for Hamlin comes an increased awareness about injuries that occur on a regular basis to pro football players every game. Hamlin’s injury was not the first to prompt a reevaluation of safety measures taken for NFL players. Tua Tagovailoa, the star quarterback of the Miami Dolphins, was not able to play in his team’s playoff Wild Card game because of back-to-back concussions and a serious blow to the head during a game versus the Green Bay Packers. His injuries happened earlier in the 2022 season. 

While new equipment technology like anti-concussion padding or radio frequency identification tags in helmets and shoulder pads are constantly being updated, Hamlin and Tagovailoa’s incidents are reasons to keep pushing the issue. The protocol around concussions in the NFL has been followed more closely and progress has been made, but what else can be done to decrease the frequency and severity of these injuries even more.

The Bills and Bengals faced off again January 22nd resulting in a Bengals win 27-10. Since then, Hamlin has continued to progress remarkably in his recovery.